Romanian hackers allegedly carried out January D.C. police camera hack

The affidavit, filed by a U.S. Secret Service explains that hackers compromised computers attached to 123 percent of the city's 187 cameras with a broader plot to use those computers for a phishing campaign.
Isolated monitoring cameras on blue sky / Via Pexels CC2.0

A federal court affidavit reveals that two Romanian hackers were behind a attack that shut down most of D.C. police’s security cameras for four days in January, CNN reports.

The affidavit, filed by U.S. Secret Service agent James Graham, explains that Isvanca and Cismaru compromised computers attached to 123 of the city’s 187 cameras with a broader plot to use those computers for a phishing campaign. A Secret Service analysis of three of the compromised computers found malicious code used in ransomware attacks along with text files containing 179,616 email addresses. Investigators concluded that the hackers planned to use D.C. computers to spread ransomware through spam emails.

Investigators were able to link email accounts that had been accessed on the compromised computers to Isvanca and Cismaru.

D.C. officials were able to regain control and bring the cameras back online within four days. During that the time they were disabled, an elderly woman was killed by stray gunfire in an ongoing chase, and police were not able to identify the suspect because the closest camera was down.


In February, two people were arrested in London as suspects of the camera hacking, but British investigators ultimately found no evidence linking them to crime. They had simply made an Amazon purchase from a company that listed Cismaru’s email address in its contact information.

According to Bleeping Computer, Isvanca and Cismaru were arrested in mid-December along with three others in connection to a Romanian ransomware plot.

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